Tottenham and Liverpool to the fore at Assen Both of Superleague Formula by Sonangol's British clubs enjoyed excellent results at this weekend's second round at Assen TT Circuit in Holland where Tottenham Hotspur increased their lead at the top...
Tottenham and Liverpool to the fore at Assen
Both of Superleague Formula by Sonangol's British clubs enjoyed excellent results at this weekend's second round at Assen TT Circuit in Holland where Tottenham Hotspur increased their lead at the top of the standings courtesy of Craig Dolby (Melton-Mowbray), while Liverpool's James Walker (Jersey) ensured that the reigning champions returned to form.
Both British clubs enjoyed excellent opening races with Liverpool making up five positions to finish sixth, while Tottenham carved their way through from 14th to seventh.
Saturday's qualifying had been disappointing for Walker and Dolby who both failed to make it out of their respective groups. Indeed Dolby, who won the first race at Silverstone and backed that up with victory in the day's Super Final, was especially frustrated with the front-end handling of his car.
Changes made over night appeared to cure the problem however with Spurs quick out of the blocks at the start. Liverpool meanwhile were caught out at the first corner and shuffled back to 13th, right behind Dolby.
By the start of lap five the Leicestershire-ace was up to 9th and displaying the sort of overtaking manoeuvres that have earned him a reputation as Superleague Formula's most spectacular driver. Walker too had made progress, running 11th by the time the pit window opened after 15 minutes.
As those ahead made their mandatory stops, the two British clubs continued their surge forward before Liverpool relinquished its sixth place in favour of new tyres. Dolby did likewise two laps later and rejoined right ahead of his fellow countryman in seventh, which became sixth thanks to Sevilla's botched pit stop.
So ensued one of the battles of the race as Walker hassled and harried Dolby whose car, shod with used tyres, suddenly struggled for pace. The two ran nose-to-tail for the next two laps before Walker seized the initiative with a breathtaking move around the outside of turn five.
With Liverpool disappearing into the distance, Dolby was then forced to defend from FC Porto and Galatasaray. His job was made a little easier when the Portuguese club pulled into the pits with a terminal problem, but he was still made to fight hard as Tristan Gommendy tried unsuccessfully to take the place in the final two minutes.
Alan Docking Racing's decision to run old tyres on the Spurs car throughout race one ensured that Dolby, starting 12th on the reverse grid, would have a pair of brand new sets to play with in race two.
It proved an inspired strategy as Spurs made rapid progress in the early stages, including a brief skirmish with Liverpool. The matter was settled in Dolby's favour by the end of lap one, and the pair, already up to sixth and seventh, set about tackling those ahead.
PSV Eindhoven were next in line who Dolby dispatched with ease on lap three before sprinting away to join the top four. But having reached the back of the leading train, Dolby was unable to progress any further, although he did briefly pass Sevilla's Marcos Martinez before being retaken two corners later.
Instead, the pit stop window would be needed to gain any further positions and Tottenham and Liverpool greatly accepted its opening after 15 minutes when both dived in for fresh rubber along with Olympiacos and Sevilla. A good stop from each crew ensured that their respective drivers safely returned to the track, Dolby gaining handsomely by slotting into third once the stops shook out.
On new tyres he was comfortably faster than Sporting Lisbon ahead but uncharacteristically struggled to pass the Portuguese club before a brave move up against the pit wall settled matters three laps later.
Released into clean air, he began to whittle away the gap to leaders Olympiacos and eventually finished just 2 seconds adrift.
Walker meanwhile added a second sixth position to his weekend's work despite spending the final 20 minutes glued to Sporting Lisbon's rear-wing.
The British contingent's excellent weekends earned both teams a place in the Super Final, a five lap dash-for-cash concerning the top six points scorers from both races.
Dolby's exploits saw him line-up on pole for the second consecutive round but he was pushed down to third thanks to a poor start, before recovering to second despite the attentions of AC Milan's Yelmer Buurman.
Walker's points haul gave him an aggregate grid slot of fifth but he was able to jump Flamengo off the line to come home fourth.
A second consecutive excellent round for Dolby sees Spurs increase their lead at the top of the league table to 48 points from FC Basel, while reigning champions Liverpool will be happy to be off the foot of the table following a no sore at Silverstone last time out.
Craig Dolby, Tottenham Hotspur: "I need to thank all the guys at Alan Docking Racing because they worked so hard last night after our disappointing qualifying. I made a few mistakes on Saturday but I've paid the boys back today and this is a fantastic result for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. I know the circuit at Magny-Cours quite well so I'm hoping for even better next weekend."
James Walker, Liverpool: "I had a difficult qualifying and was disappointed not to get out of the group stages because we were only 0.2sec short. To be fair this is our first proper weekend with proper dry running getting used to what the car's like so to come away with two sixth places and a fourth in the Super Final is fantastic. It's a good haul of points too because I've spent seven weeks looking at a big fat zero on the website which is a bit depressing! I've been to Magny-Cours with World Series by Renault once before and I like the track which is quite fast and flowing. In all the fast stuff here we've been really quick so hopefully that will reflect in our pace in France.
Superleague Formula will return to action next weekend in Magny-Cours, France.